REM GLEN HELEN MOTOCROSS RACE REPORT: VANCE & HINES’ PRESTON TILFORD WINS 450 PRO CLASS; THE OVER-50 EXPERT RACE IS OFF THE CHART AGAIN
Bad starts made Preston Tilford work a lot harder than he should have in the 450 Pro class. In the end, he ran everyone down.
The 450 Pro class had a lot of drama at this week’s REM motocross at Glen Helen Raceway. (1) Vance & Hines rider Preston Tilford won both motos, but if you were watching the race at the halfway point of each moto, you would never have thought that he was going to take the victory. Because Glen Helen is building a new starting gate on the REM track (and the cement was still curing), Frank Thomason resorted to old-fashioned flag starts. Tilford had obviously never done a hand-on-helmet start as he was way back in both Pro motos. But, Preston not only worked his way up, but managed to catch a streaking Tony Amaradio, who had built up 15 second leads in both motos. (2) Chris See had the race of his young career come undone with the spokes in his front wheel. See grabbed the lead of the first 450 Pro class moto and led for several laps. Then, his front spokes started to break. Let this be a lesson about some inferior aftermarket spokes?See’s front wheel eventually had half of its spokes snap off (without any flat landings, crashes or race damage). He had to pull off the track. MXA lent him a new wheel for the second moto and he finished fourth. (3) Last week, Swede Rickard Hansson (son of former GP rider Peter Hansson) got his first-ever race win in the USA. This week he couldn’t keep up with 37-year-old former AMA National rider Tony Amaradio or the rapid Preston Tilford. Rickard went 3-3.
Rickard Hansson will be racing in the USA until March, when he will return to Sweden to race their Nationals.
Someone else finally got to win the Vet Intermediate class. Tim Olson, who has won this class every week for the last six years, had to go to Anaheim Stadium early for a Yamaha public relations. So after he won the first moto, he loaded up and left for A2?leaving the overall victory to Bret Milan (2-1) with L.A. Sleeve’s Mark Kalapakoff getting second with a 3-2.
Imagine the horror of leading the 450 Pro class for the first time only to hear the spokes in your front wheel start snapping like twigs. Chris See (749) knows what that feels like.
Billy Musgrave won his second straight 250 Pro race (in only his second 250 Pro race). Riding a KTM 150SX two-stroke Musgrave and Ricky Diaz traded turns at the front and, in the end, they traded moto wins, but the second stanza went to Billy?and thus the overall.
Former MXA test rider and current Yamaha public relations head honcho won the first Vet Intermediate moto, but had to skip the second moto to get to A2.
Tom White won the Over-60 Expert class with two easy victories (aided by the fact that Alan Olson crashed out of the first moto and went with his son Tim to Anaheim Stadium before the second moto). Behind Tom White was an epic battle between three guys who have raced each other for decades. Jody Weisel, Lars Larsson and Ray Pisarski passed each other several times in each moto. Finally, Pisarski, a Saddleback specialist from the old days, worked his way clear from the two grizzled veterans. Larsson, on a KTM 250SX two-stroke, finally sealed the deal for third overall by making a pass that stuck in REM’s difficult sand section (the sand came courtesy of the recent rain storms that pooled loose sand down on the flat parts of the hilly REM track).
Eric Casa’s Honda’s looked like museum pieces, but he used them to smoke a whole field of new bikes in the Over-40 Intermediate class. They looked good and sounded sweet
Speaking of two-strokes, they continue to make their presence felt at Glen Helen. The coolest bikes at the track this week where the vintage CR’s of Eric Casas, but don’t call them vintage to Casas. He used his primo 1989 Honda CR250 to win the Over-40 Intermediate class. Bryan Friday and CT Falk ran second and third on their 450 four-strokes, while two YZ125’s and a RM250 sandwiched them in spots four through sixth. Out of the top ten in the Over-40 Intermediates there were four two-strokes. The top ten was Eric Casas, Bryan Friday, CT Falk, Dan Alamangos, Cary Brown, Tim Harris, Mike Phillips, Brian Catterson, Sam Ramirez and Kevin McCarthy.
Over-50 Expert Bruce Ashmore (4) is under attack by Ron Lawson (12) and Dennis Boulware (44). Tony Amaradio (red jersey) started in a different gate in the Open Expert class, but lapped his way through the half century pilots.
It seems that if you are an Over-50 Expert you must race at REM. Every week the Over-50 Experts are the largest class with the toughest competition. And this week was no different. With a full gate of old guys, former SoCal 125 Pro Dave Eropkin was looking to be the first rider to notch three victories in the young season. It was not to be, as another old Saddleback Pro Steve Pfaff used a 2-1 to defeat Eropkin’s 1-2. Greg Nelson rode hard to get third overall with a 4-3 in front of Tim Murphy (5-4) and Willie Amaradio (3-6), but after that results looked like football scores. Bruce Ashmore got sixth with a 6-10. Ron Lawson 12-7 nipped Mike Monaghan’s 11-7 and Dennis Boulware’s 7-12 for seventh, eight and ninth. George Kohler rounded out the top ten with a 10-11.
In other noteworthy news, Greg Groom, who was penalized last week for jumping the gate (which prompted Glen Helen to build a new starting gate), was penalized this week for jumping the flag start. Pete Vetrano, who just this week took over his official responsibilities as the official TM Motorcycles distributor, raced a Husqvarna TE250 enduro bike to 17th overall, but hopes to be back on TM’s after the Indy Motorcycle Show in two weeks Vetrano had been the TM distributor before (he was also the VOR, LEM and Vetermatti distributor also).
Mark Kalpakoff’s bike is littered with WORCS and SRA GP numbers (some of them in different colors), but it was good enough to get him scored as second overall in the Vet Intermediate class.
Glen Helen’s popular 125 Adult “A” two-stroke class has been the playground of Ron Lawson (KX125) and Dan Alamangos (YZ125) for the last four weeks, but this week there was a new Sheriff in town as Cary Brown (YZ125) used a 2-1 to take the win over a top five of Gary Renko (6-1), Brad Pappalardo (3-4), Ron Lawson (5-3) and Dan Alamangos (2-8).
This off-camber corner was extremely difficult. George Nazaroff (523) takes the shorter, but steeper inside line, while Kent Reed (491) and Jeff Arzouman (21) use the outside line. The two lines were identical in time, so it just depended on who did what the best.
IN THE OTHER CLASSES
VET NOVICE: Rick Richards went 1-1 in front of the 2-3 of Pete Vetrano (on that Husky enduro bike) for the win. Gary Taylor and Tom Hinz engaged in their never-ending battle for bragging rights (between the two of them), They traded places in each moto, but Tayor’s 4-4 beat Hinz’s 3-5.
OVER-40 NOVICE: Mark Thies won the Over-40 Novice class with a 1-1. Steve Thetford (2-2), Tim Smith (3-5), Dave Hickerson (4-4) and Lloyd Collins 6-3) rounded out the top five.
OVER-50 NOVICE: George Nazaroff used a 1-2 to beat Brian Underdahl’s 5-1. Ian Pederson was third, Jeff Arzouman fourth, Tim Norton fifth, Kent Reed sixth, Dennis Smith seventh, Arnold Schreuder eighth, Lee Amaradio ninth and Rob Deeds tenth.
Dirt Bike‘s Ron Lawson (12) leads eventual Over-50 Expert victor Steve Pfaff (612) and Tim Murphy (533) off of REM’s ledge turn.
For those who like to keep track of stats: 31 percent of the race bikes at REM were Yamaha’s, 28 percent Hondas, 20 percent KTMs, 12 percent Kawasakis, 8 percent Suzuki’s and a fraction of a point for Pete Vetrano’s Husqvarna TE250. Although race wins are more representative of rider talent; Yamaha and Honda each won 30 percent of the races held this weekend, KTMs won 25 percent, Kawasakis 14 percent and Suzukis 1 percent.
REM races again next Saturday February 12 (and the new starting gate will be in service…this message is for Greg Groom in particular). Remember: If you have an REM license (although you don’t need one to race with REM) you will get half off of the Saturday Glen Helen gate fee every weekend. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Dan Alamangos